Ian Boddy Launches New Label For Modular Synth Music, ‘Tone Science’

Synthesist and DiN label head Ian Boddy has launched a new electronic music label, Tone Science.

Boddy launched DiN in 1999, and to date has released 54 physical albums on the label, as well as 19 download-only releases. The new label grows out of one of his DiN releases, Tone Science (DiN48), which featured the sounds of Boddy’s slowly evolving, self-playing modular synthesizer patches.

Boddy set up the new sub-label to make a home for artists and performers working in the field of modular synthesis. The first release, Module No.1 Structure and Forces, is a compilation album, featuring nine artists from different musical backgrounds, with the common thread being that all the tracks were composed entirely with a modular synth system.

We asked Boddy about the new release and his plans for the new label:

Synthtopia: First off, you’re starting a new label/sub-label, Tone Science, after running DiN for almost 20 years. Why do you see a need to start a separate label, and how will Tone Science releases differ from DiN releases?

Ian Boddy

Ian Boddy: I wanted to give the Tone Science label a different identity to the regular releases, both visually & sonically. Certainly the new labels releases are going to have a more experimental edge to them.

It’s always amazed me that, despite electronic music having the potential to be almost limitless in it’s possibilities & vision, listeners & fans still clump together into little cliches.

So, by giving this sub label it’s own identity, it will guide listeners into what to expect, rather than jumble up genres too much on the regular label.

Synthtopia: The first Tone Science release is a compilation that brings together some electronic artists with lengthy discographies – like Chris Carter & Scanner – with artists that may be better known for other things – like Divkid. What can you tell us about your ideas on choosing artists and tracks to include in the first release?

Ian Boddy: These sort of compilations can be fraught with difficulty in getting a cohesive track running order, so initially I approached musicians whom I knew personally and who I could trust to deliver me the music with the minimum of fuss.

It was very important for me that the music came first and that the album didn’t end up sounding like a series of bleepy bloopy gear demos.

I gave the musicians some brief guidance, but basically left it up to them what they wanted to compose. Amazingly, when I received all the tracks, there was for me a running order that suggested itself very quickly. Thus, the album has a sense of flow & drama and is, I hope, a rewarding listening experience whether you’re interested in modular synths or not.

Synthtopia: Your press info for the new album notes that the album features modular synths, ranging from Euro to Serge and Buchla to Hordijk systems. Is there a didactic element to your concept for the new label – to highlight what’s happening in some of the niches of the electronic music world?

Ian Boddy: Not overtly, as again I stress the music has to stand on it’s own two feet.

I’ve been using modular synths since about 1980, indeed I still have my original Roland System 100-M rack that I got way back in 1982. I’ve always enjoyed their sonic possibilities, even during the 1990’s, when most people were just about throwing their systems out, as the wonders of the computer age started to dawn upon us.

I’ve thus been watching with both interest & mild amusement as the modular world has been exploding in popularity over the last few years.

What’s different now, though, is that a modest modular system is within reach of a lot more people than the behemoths of yesteryear. There are some wonderful artists out there creating & performing with these systems, so I thought the time was right to try to present this music in a professional and engaging way.

I didn’t seek out particular modular systems to show up on this album, it’s just by chance that there’s a very healthy cross section of the systems available on the initial Tone Science release.

Synthtopia: Can you tell us anything about your future plans for the label?

Ian Boddy: A lot depends on how this initial release is received, but I’m certainly planning on a Volume 2 Tone Science release and I am already contacting various musicians who I would like to be on this second album.

I’m also looking at perhaps some solo & collaborative releases by various musicians in this field but nothing I can announce at this stage.

Module No.1 Structure and Forces

Here’s a preview of the new album:

The album opens and closes with the ambient soundscapes of two tracks by DivKid and Matthew Shaw who run the well respected Modular Podcast. Boddy himself follows the opening track with an extension to his original “Tone Science” album with another aleatoric self playing composition in “Tone 6”.

Paul Lawler and Nigel Mullaney are both heavily involved in library music and soundtrack composition and their two multi-layered compositions showcase the cinematic possibilities of the modular synth world. The remaining four tracks are more rhythmic in nature with the beautiful ambient washes of “If Wishes Came True” by Scanner leading into the hypnotic ostinato patterns of “Ghatam” by Richard Scott.

French Buchla wizard Lyonel Bauchet ramps up the intensity with an elegantly constructed pulsing track before Chris Carter (Throbbing Gristle) ends the rhythmic proceedings with the grimy, dubby bass powered “Frieze Relief”.

Tone Science Module No.1 Structure and Forces is available now.

Tracklist:

01 Natural Minor Sines by DivKid 8:04
02 Tone 6 by Ian Boddy 9:03
03 Virus by Paul Lawler 7:40
04 If Wishes Came True by Scanner 6:30
05 Ghatam by Richard Scott 6:14
06 Un coq à Esculape by Lyonel Bauchet 6:08
07 Frieze Relief by Chris Carter 5:29
08 Spherfear by Nigel Mullaney 9:39
09 Harmonograph by Matthew Shaw 8:00

4 thoughts on “Ian Boddy Launches New Label For Modular Synth Music, ‘Tone Science’

  1. I would expect more imaginative and fresh music than this. You can hardly find the “cv influence” in these pieces.Btw drenching everything in reverberation does not a composition make!

  2. From a modular synthesis point of view I believe he could have presented tunes that were a better tribute to some of things currently happening in the modular landscape. It’s not that I disliked the tunes but I didn’t think it was that much a departure from his primary label. Hopefully my lack of enthusiasm isn’t echoed by most and he’ll get more variety in the form of follow up releases.

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